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ON JULY 9, 1982, A PAN AMERICAN BOEING 727 (FLIGHT 759) CRASHED INTO A RESIDENTIAL AREA IN KENNER, LOUISIANA, KILLING 145 PERSONS ON BOARD THE AIRCRAFT AND 8 PERSONS ON THE GROUND. THE SAFETY BOARD'S PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION INDICATES THAT WIND SHEAR MAY HAVE BEEN A FACTOR. ANALYSIS OF THE AIRCRAFT PERFORMANCE IN THIS ACCIDENT, AS IN ALL OTHER AIR CARRIER ACCIDENTS, DEPENDS HEAVILY ON THE INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE FLIGHT DATA RECORDER (FDR). IN THIS CASE, THE OSCILLOGRAPHIC, OR FOIL, FDR CARRIED ON THE ACCIDENT AIRCRAFT LACKS A NUMBER OF BASIC AND IMPORTANT PARAMETERS, ALL OF WHICH ARE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH WIND SHEAR MAY HAVE AFFECTED AIRCRAFT PERFORMANCE. IN ADDITION, THE RECORDER ITSELF IS TECHNOLOGICALLY OBSOLETE. THE INADEQUACIES OF THE FOIL RECORDER WERE ALSO BROUGHT TO LIGHT IN THE AIR FLORIDA, INC., BOEING 737 ACCIDENT AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT, JANUARY 13, 1982. A SIGNIFICANT TIMING DISPARITY BETWEEN THE CVR AND FDR WAS EVENTUALLY TRACED TO A FAULTY CONTROL SPRING ASSEMBLY AFTER MONTHS OF INVESTIGATIVE WORK BY THE SAFETY BOARD AND THE RECORDER MANUFACTURER. THE LACK OF ENGINE, ATTITUDE, AND ACCELERATION DATA LENGTHENED THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS CONSIDERABLY BY NECESSITATING A COSTLY AND LENGTHY SIMULATOR STUDY. RECORDER MANUFACTURERS HAVE RECENTLY INTRODUCED COST-EFFECTIVE DIGITAL RECORDERS TO REPLACE THE FOIL RECORDERS, THUS MAKING PRACTICAL THE INSTALLATION AND USE OF DIGITAL RECORDERS IN ALL AIRCRAFT CURRENTLY REQUIRING A RECORDER.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Amend 14 CFR 127.subpart H, to require that all rotorcraft manufactured after a specified date, regardless of the date of original type certificate, be equipped with one or more approved flight recorders that record data from which the information listed in table II [see greensheet] can be determined as a function of time. For newly type certificated rotorcraft, any dedicated parameter which may be necessary because of unique features of the specific configuration and type design should also be required. (Superseded by A-87-77 through -89)
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Superseded
Kenner, LA, United States
Pan American World Airways, Inc., Clipper 759, Boeing 727-235, N4737
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Superseded)
Safety Recommendation History
This recommendation was classified as closed-superseded per ntsb green sheet a-87- 77 thru -89. With the issuance of Safety Recommendations A-87-77 through -89, the following recommendations have been classified as CLOSED--SUPERSEDED: A-78-28, A-82-64, A-82-65, A-82-66, A-82-67, A-82-106, and A-82-108. The following recommendations have been classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION/ SUPERSEDED: A-82-107, A-8 2-109, A-82-110, and A-82-111.
You responded to the above two recommendations that the FAA has initiated a review and analysis of CVR and FDR for rotorcraft and that this study will be complete in the fourth quarter of 1983. Pending completion of this study and the issuance of rules regarding CVR and FDR for rotorcraft, Safety Recommendations A-82-67 and A-82- 108 will be held in an "Open--Acceptable Action" status.
FAA LETTER: IN OUR RESPONSE TO THE BOARD CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS A-82-64 THROUGH A-82-66 DATED JUNE 8, 1982, WE ENCLOSED A COPY OF OUR REPORT "COCKPIT VOICE AND FLIGHT DATA RECORDER EVALUATION." THE INITIAL EVALUATION ADDRESSED ONLY FIXED-WING AIRCRAFT. FOR THE BOARD'S INFORMATION, THE FAA HAS INITIATED A SECOND REVIEW AND ANALYSIS. THIS PHASE WILL ADDRESS COCKPIT VOICE RECORDERS AND FLIGHT DATA RECORDERS FOR ROTORCRAFT. WE EXPECT TO COMPLETE THE REVIEW AND ANALYSIS ON ROTORCRAFT IN THE 4TH QUARTER OF 1983. WE WILL ADVISE THE BOARD OF OUR FINDINGS.
The Safety Board notes with interest that the FAA is conducting a comprehensive review which will result in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking being published in 1983 regarding rotorcraft and that consideration of requiring flight data recorders on rotorcraft will be limited to those with a seating configuration of more than 30 seats or a payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds. To our understanding, there are no rotorcraft with more than 30 seats operating in the U.S. at this time. The Boeing-Vertol 234 has over 30 seats but is used only in North Sea operations, and there are only three of them in service. Data Source: NTSB Recommendations to FAA and FAA Responses Several helicopter shuttle services have begun operations in major U.S. cities, e.g., in New York, San Francisco, and Houston. Pan American's New York Helicopter operation and Houston Executive Airlines use the Bell 222 with eight passenger seats, and New York Helicopter uses the Aerospatiale 360 Dauphin with nine passenger seats. Since airline passengers are flying from airports to downtown locations in these helicopters, it is appropriate that the FAA establish the threshold for flight data recorders in rotorcraft at eight rather than 30 passenger seats and at a payload capacity of more than 4,000 pounds rather than 7,500 pounds. Pending suitable amendment of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding installation of flight data recorders in rotorcraft, A-82-67 will be held in an "Open-- Unacceptable Action" status. We appreciate your positive attitude regarding upgrading flight data recorders as outlined in your letter of October 29, 1982, and will cooperate with you in any way possible in implementing these recommendations.
FAA LETTER: THE FAA IS PRESENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF REVIEWING THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR) IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S MANDATE TO REDUCE UNNEEDED OR UNWARRANTED REGULATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE CONSIDERING EXTENSIVE AMENDMENT, OR EVEN CANCELLATION, OF 14 CFR 127. THEREFORE, IN OUR REVIEW, ANALYSIS, AND ANY FUTURE RULEMAKING PROCEEDINGS, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO REQUIRING THAT ROTORCRAFT WITH A SEATING CONFIGURATION OF MORE THAN 30 SEATS OR A PAYLOAD CAPACITY OF MORE THAN 7,500 POUNDS INCLUDE A REQUIREMENT FOR FLIGHT DATA RECORDERS. WE EXPECT TO PUBLISH A NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING ON THIS SUBJECT IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF 1983.
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